CVIII Lectures Upon the Fourth of John Preached at Ashby-Delazouch in Leicestershire
CVIII LECTURES UPON THE FOURTH OF JOHN. PREACHED, At ASHEYDELAZOVCH in Leicestershire. By that Late Faithfull and Worthy Minister of Jesus Christ. ARTHUR HILDERSAM. The second Edition corrected and much enlarged by the Author. 2. Tim. 3. ver. 16, 17. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproofe, for correction, for instruction in righteousnesse. That the man of God may be perfect, thorowly furnished unto every good worke.
PUBLISHED BY George Miller FOR Edward Brewster
WEe have heard in the former verses, what zeale the Woman of Samaria (being converted her selfe) did shew, in seeking the conversion of all her neighbours, and what a blessing God gave to her endeavours therein: For (upon her perswasion) they went out of the City, and came to Christ. Now in these verses that I have read, and those foure that follow, the Evangelist reporteth the speech, that passed betweene Christ and his Disciples, in the meane time while the woman was in going to call her neighbours, and they in comming out of the City unto Christ. And this speech consisteth of two parts. 1. The declaration of our Saviours zeale, in preferring the worke of his Ministry before his meate and drinke, (contained in these foure verses I have now read unto you;) 2. The exhortation that he giveth unto his Disciples, to follow his example therein, (in the foure verses following.) And in the first part (the verses I have now read) foure things are noted by the Evangelist: 1. The motion which the Disciples make unto him, that hee would eate somewhat, a motion no whit unfit, or unseasonable for them to make at this time. For, 1. It was now dinner time, as appeares ver. 6. and his manner was (as it seemes) [Page 256] to eate two meales in a day, as we reade also that Eliah (notwithstanding his strict course of life) was wont to doe, 1. Kings 17.6. 2. They perceived him to be weary, verse 6. and in that respect also to have need of refreshing. 3. They found him to be now at leisure, and free from other imployment 4. They thought they should have gone forward their journey to Galilee that afternoone, verse 3,4. 5. They perceived by him, that (though he was hungry, and had sent them into the Towne to buy meate, yet) now they were come to him with meate, and had set it before him, he had no disposition to eate any, and therefore (out of their duty and love unto him) they desire him to eate, verse 31.
2. The answer Christ makes unto this their motion, verse 32. Hee had meate to eate, that they knew not of. He saith not, that he had eaten already; yet was he (doubtlesse) refreshed, with the paines he had taken, and good he had done already upon the Woman of Samaria; but he lookes for a second and a better service, and keepes his stomake for it. He knew (and so did not they) what a multitude of the Samaritans were comming towards him.
3 The question which the Disciples had among themselves about this answer their Master had made unto them, verse 33. They wondred how he (in that place) should come by meate. Yet (out of the reverence they beare to his person) they durst not aske him, but only inquired among themselves, how that might be.
4. The manifestation that Christ himselfe maketh of his owne meaning in that answer he had given unto them, verse 34. The meate he spake of, was 1. To do the will of him that sent him, that is, to instruct and save soules. 2. To finish his worke. It is my meat (saith Christ) to finish it, to exercise my selfe in it still, even to the end of my daies. And this he calls his meat. 1. Because of the appetite and desire he had to it, as men have to their meate, he desired nothing so earnestly. 2. Because it refreshed him marvailously; no food, no dainties, were so sweet unto him.
The first thing then that in these verses offreth it selfe to our consideration, is this, that the Disciples (out of the love and respect they had unto our Saviour) doe moove and intreat him to eate somewhat, and that he blameth them not for this. From whence we have this to learne.
That though a Christians chiefe care should be for his own soule, and the soules of other men, yet the bodies of men may not be neglected, but must be nourished, and cared for also; especially theirs, whose health and strength may be of most service, and use to God, and his Church. 1. For the care of our selves this way, see a plaine direction given us by the Apostle, Ephes. 5. 29. No man ever yet hated his owne flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it. And 2. For the care we should have of others, it is to be observed, that when our Saviour had restored the daughter of Iairus to life, he commanded that something should be given her to eate, Mar. 5. 43. and that all those workes of mercy unto which the Lord will shew such respect at the day of judgement, Matth. 25. 42, 4 . are such as had beene shewed upon the bodies of Gods servants. And lastly, for the speciall care should be had of the bodily health, and strength of such, as whose service may be of speciall use to God and his Church: We have a notable example in the care of the Apostle had of Timothy, for Timothy being a young man and unmarried, for the suppressing of the lusts of youth, and the better obtaining of the gift of continency, did altogether forbeare the drinking of wine, and used to drinke water onely, and thereby weakened his stomake, and brought upon himselfe many other infirmities. Paul therefore forbids him, 1. Tim. 5. 23. to drinke water any longer, and chargeth him to drinke wine.
The Doctrine serveth also for the reproofe of such as by excesse and disorder, doe overthrow the health and estate of their bodies, namely such as by pampering of their bodies, do quite overthrow them. Such are not onely our common drunkards, but they also that drink more then doth them good, such as use excesse of wine or strong drinke, 1. Pet. 4 3. that seeke out the strongest drink they can find, and use to sit long at it, Pro. 23. 30. that count this their glory that they are mighty to drinke wine, and strong to powre in strong drinke, Esay 5. 22. These men are certainely guilty of many sins: 1. They sin against God in abusing his good creatures. The wine and strong drink they thus abuse is not their own, nor the mony neither that they buy it with, but the Lords, she did not know that I gave her corne & wine & oyle, & multiplyed her silver & gold, Hos. 2. 8. and the right use God hath given it, for, is 1. The cheering of the spirits of such as are heavy hearted, Pro. 1. 6, 7. 2. That men in the liberall use of them might serve him with joyfulnes and gladnes of heart, Deut. 28. 47. But these men abuse them to the disabling of themselves for his service, and grow therby profane, and haters of all goodnes: 2. They sin against their neighbours, not onely by evill example, but even by provoking God to deprive us of our plenty, and to bring a dearth. And that is the cause why [Page 259] the drunkard is first of all called upon to mourne for the dearth that God threatned, Joel 1. 5. 3. They sinne against their owne soules, by impenitency, that they cannot leave this sinne; nor so much as discerne it in themselves, though all other men see it and note them for it. Thus the Holy Ghost describeth the drunkard, Pro. 23. 35. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sicke, they have beaten me, and I felt it not, when shall I awake? I will seeke it yet againe. 4. They sin against their owne bodies, 1. By bringing upon them diseases, Hos. 7. 5. The Princes made him sicke with bottles of wine 2. By making them unserviceable to their soules, through a strange sottishnesse they have brought upon themselves thereby, Hos. 4. 11. Wine and new wine take away the heart, bereave them of all use of their reason and understanding. And it is no small matter (I tell you) to sinne thus even against their body; for the Apostle aggravateth this sinne of fornication even by this argument, 1. Cor. 6. 18. He that committeth fornication, sinneth against his owne body.